TRANSCRIPTION | Wednesday, February 10, 2021 | Five Definitions of a Disciple

 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

Hey, thanks so much for being with us tonight for our online Bible study. We're meeting here every Wednesday night at 6:30pm, central; 7:30pm, eastern time; on YouTube; Facebook; or you can go to 3trees.online.church. Last week, it was such an honor to have with us Pastor Johnny Hood. He's the care pastor here at 3trees, serves across all locations. He has just such a phenomenal tenure of ministry. So good to be able to hear his thoughts on prayer and to learn from his just years and years of experience of pursuing the Lord. You know, tonight, I want to continue in this vein of just taking some time to study the Word of God. If you'd like to go to ericgilbert.org, you'll be able to find a link there that will provide a discussion guide for tonight's Bible study. Also, it will provide notes for you to follow along, maybe even fill in some blanks, etc. for tonight's message. So, with that in mind, you know, thinking about the discussion guide, even if you don't have someone there with you, like even if you're not in a small group environment, sometimes taking that discussion guide and using it to reflect upon what's just been shared, can be a really helpful time of just self evaluation with the help of the Holy Spirit. Also, it can kind of help you to navigate your prayer time, and how to pray through maybe what the word has spoken into your life and life transformation that needs to come as a result of that. Another thing I want to mention, as we get ready to read our first scripture, which is going to be from the book of Matthew chapter number 28. I want to share that tonight we're going to take communion together. We try to do that every Wednesday night. And you can maybe grab some crackers or maybe gather some juice. If you let us know, contact our church office, we'd be more than happy to help in facilitating getting you the actual elements for communion ahead of time, so that you can participate with us on Wednesday nights. So, if you need to pause the broadcast, whatever you need to do to go get those items, some crackers and some juice, we're going to take communion at the end of tonight's Bible study. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

I want to draw your attention to the book of Matthew chapter number 28. I want you to look with me at verse number 18. Jesus is speaking and he says this “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth.” Verse 19, “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations.” Jesus is clearly stating that he has the supreme authority when it comes to earth. And he's saying that because he has that authority, he has the right to authorize us to go forth and make disciples. I want you to notice Jesus is not issuing a suggestion, he is speaking in a commanding tone. He's not leaving this up for your consideration of maybe you feel like it or maybe you don't, he is saying to do it to go and to make disciples. Well, you know, the logistics of it, you can't make a disciple until you are one. So hopefully, all of us are pursuing our own path with Jesus to become a better disciple in the image of Jesus on the earth and to follow after his example in his work. But think about this for a minute that Jesus tells us to make disciples. Well, how do you make a disciple? You know, if someone told you to make something, you're going to need some instructions, you're going to need some blueprints, you're going to need a plan if you're going to make something. So how do you make a disciple? And obviously Jesus references that there's teaching associated with this, but what do we teach? Well, generally, we know it's the Word of God. But I want to show you in the New Testament, how that Jesus actually provides a definition of what a disciple is. In order to do that, what we need to do, we need to look at four verses of scripture. And we're going to look at john chapter 13, Luke, chapter 14, john chapter eight, and john chapter 15. Okay. I'm going to be reading from the New King James Version if you want to follow along. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

So what we're gonna do, we're looking at this, Jesus has said that we need to make disciples, and we want to talk about is how do you actually know if you are being effective at making a disciple or not? What is the definition of a disciple? There's no better person to hear the definition of a disciple from than Jesus himself. I want to show you Jesus’ first definition of a disciple. It’s the book of John, it's chapter number 13, and it's verse number 34. This is what Jesus said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, as I have loved you, that you also love one another. Now, by this, all will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” So Jesus is saying that a marker for whether you are a disciple or not is based upon your ability, and your willingness to love other people. John chapter 13, verse 35, I'm going to read it again for the sake of emphasis. “By this, all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” So Jesus is saying, if we are a disciple, we are going to need to love other people as we love ourselves. And what that involves is a transformation of our heart. And so if we're going to be a disciple of Jesus, we're going to need to have our hearts transformed. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

I'm going to show you another definition that Jesus provides of a disciple. This one is in Luke chapter 14, this one is verse number 26. Jesus says, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and his mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Man, that is a verse that just kind of causes you to have to pause for a minute and really think through like, what is Jesus saying. I often tell people when they're reading the Word, to read it for quantity, to read as much of the word as you possibly can on a daily basis, but also read the word for quality. So while you may be reading multiple chapters as a part of a reading plan, also pick you a verse or two that you can go back to and meditate on each day until you feel like you've really got the revelation of it, you've really got the meaning of it. And this is one of those verses that you're going to need to really spend some time meditating on and thinking about, and it's a verse that I've done that with. And I want to read it again, verse 26 of Luke 14, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes and his own life, he cannot be my disciple. What is Jesus trying to say? I think that Jesus is letting us know that our love for him needs to be so on point, so all consuming in our life, that everything else in life like pales compared to how much we actually love him. And he says that if we don't know reach that point, we can't be His disciple. I think probably what Luke chapter 14 is really pointing to is that we have to get our priorities straight, that it doesn't matter who our relationship is with father, mother, wife, children, brothers, sisters, other people, even our thoughts about our own life, that nothing can take priority over our relationship with God; that, that has to come first. It has to be above all else and before all else. And what that talks about is really having a transformation of our value system, of what do we really value, and how do we really value relationships? Yes, have a great relationship with your father and your mother, and your wife and your children, your brothers and your sisters, and even hopefully you have a positive self image. But at the same time, nothing can take priority over your relationship with Jesus Christ. That has to come first according to Luke chapter 14, verse 26, of what Jesus is describing the mark of a disciple to be. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

Let me show you another definition that Jesus provides about discipleship, John chapter eight, and it's verse number 31 and 32. “And then Jesus said to those Jews who believed him, if you abide in my word, you are my disciples indeed, and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” If you abide in my word, you are my disciples, indeed. You know what Jesus is pointing out here is that discipleship is something more than just following him. If I had the ability, I could stand up and I could call someone to come and give the example of following me. Like, okay, I'm walking here, and, and you're following after me. Now, as we do that, it's very easy, just I take a step, that person can follow that step. But if I look at that person, and I say, okay, now abide in me, well, now they're confused. How do they do that? You know, abiding in something actually gives that imagery of a vine, of a branch, being connected to a vine, and the life force of that vine coming through that branch and being able to produce a fruit. We're going to talk about that in just a minute because it actually sets the stage for the next definition that Jesus provides. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

But really, truthfully, I think what Jesus is pointing out in John chapter eight is that we, we have to be willing to be obedient, that, that's the way that we abide in him. He says that we do his commandments, that's what proves that we are abiding in him. We're not pulling out and putting our branch in the ground over here somewhere else to create our own vine. We're connected to him because the branch is doing what the vine is releasing to it, that we are abiding in him, we're being obedient. And really, the only way we can be obedient to the Lord is that we have got to get our thought process right. We have to allow him to transform the way we think that we have to have a renewed mind. Otherwise, we're always going to be doing what we want to do and obey in our own ambition and chasing after whatever it is that we want next. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

I want to recap for just a minute before we go into the fourth one. So, John, Chapter 13, it talks about if we're going to be a disciple, that we're going to have to love one another, and that means we have to allow Jesus to transform our heart. Luke chapter 14, he talks about no relationship can take precedent over our relationship with him. So we have to get our priorities straight if we're going to be a disciple, and that means that our values are transformed. But then, in what we just read John chapter eight, he's talking to us, I believe about obedience, that if we're going to abide in him, we have to do what he says, and that means we got to get our thought life transformed. Now look at this last one, it's John chapter number 15, and it's verse number eight, and I told you, we're gonna go just transition right into the subject of the vine. That's what John 15 is all about, it's all about the vine. It’s one of my favorite chapters in the entire New Testament, and says this, “By this, my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit, so you will be my disciples.” So my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit. So you will be my disciples. And so what Jesus is talking about there is that if you are a disciple, you are going to have the mark of fruitfulness, that, that is going to be the definition of a disciple, that they are fruitful. And so really, when we talk about being fruitful, we can think about Galatians chapter five, and how there is the fruit of the Holy Spirit, and hopefully we exemplify those. You can look those up on your own time. There's nine things that are listed as a fruit of the Holy Spirit, that the Holy Spirit desires to bring through our life as we are a disciple of Jesus. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

But I also think when we're thinking about fruit, that it references that we are winning other people to the Lord, that we are being productive in the sharing of our witness and the sharing of our faith. And other people because of our witness about Jesus and sharing his good news and preaching his Gospel through our own lives, is causing other people to become new creatures in Christ Jesus, and that is a part of our fruitfulness. And think about this. If we are fruitful in that we win other people to the Lord, it results in the entire world being transformed. And that's what the Lord is shooting for is that ultimately the Earth would be transformed, that we would pray, let your kingdom come in earth as it is in heaven. That God wants to transform the world, one life at a time, and you and I have a part to play in that. And if we are truly a disciple, at some point, we're going to bear fruit. That it's not always going to just be focused on us being a better disciple or becoming a disciple in general, but that we are actually being a part and playing an active role in helping to disciple other people. So again, to recap, if you're going to make a disciple, you have to have a plan for what a disciple is to be. If we're going to become a disciple, we have to have a blueprint for what a disciple is to be. And thankfully, Jesus gave us that plan that blueprint through defining discipleship. John chapter 13, love, love. A disciple is to be a person who loves another as he loves himself as his heart gets transformed. Secondly, that our every relationship is secondary to our relationship with Jesus. The definition of discipleship is that we get our priorities straight in relationship and that we have our values transformed. John chapter eight, that we had to be a disciple of Jesus, we abide in him. And the way we do that is by being obedient to his word. So obedience to the word of Jesus, to the Word of God is a definition of discipleship according to Jesus. And that means that we get our thoughts transformed. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

And that last one, john chapter 15, that if you're a disciple, you bear much fruit. You bear much fruit. Disciples bear fruit. So, look at your life for a minute. Like, Are you loving other people as you love yourself? If so, like you're exemplifying what it is to be a disciple of Jesus. When you think about your relationships, are there relationships in your life that take precedence over your relationship with Jesus? Like, do you value other relationships above and beyond more than your relationship with God? That's an important question. Because what Jesus said the priorities in relationships have to be straight if we're going to be a disciple. When it comes to obedience, are you being obedient to the Word of God? Are you living the principles of the Word of God? Are you living out the New Testament in your life? That's an important part of being a disciple of Jesus as our thoughts are transformed. Are you fruitful? Have you ever won someone else to the Lord? You know, that's not just for preachers giving altar calls at the conclusion of a sermon. The Bible tells us that whosoever will believe should preach the Gospel. Well, John 3:16 says, whosoever shall believe will not perish. So, when we think about whosoever will believe will not perish, we all want that right? Well, Mark 16 is the same language, whoever believes should preach. There's more to preaching than putting a microphone in one hand, a Bible in the other, and going to get in the pulpit. Like, you preach with your lifestyle. Are you living a compelling lifestyle that is causing people to want the kind of relationship that you have with God? That you're making them thirsty for God, you're making them hungry for God, and that ultimately, they're pursuing more of God. If so, that you're fruitful, and that is a definition of discipleship. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

You know, what happens, the world around us is getting transformed. Your family's being transformed, your workplace is probably being transformed, your communities being transformed. Man, what an incredible thing to believe for, to pray for, to ask God to do in our life, that we would get to be a part of transforming the world, as we exemplify the definition of a disciple. That we love, that our priorities are right, that we are obedient, and that we're fruitful; because our heart is transformed, our values are transformed, our thoughts are transformed, and ultimately, the world gets transformed. So those are the transformations we're looking for, and whether or not we're being disciples, and those are the values, and the definitions that we're looking for when it comes to discipleship. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

So, I want to invite you to just just take the bread and take the cup, and think about this with me for a minute. I've said this many times throughout the years. But Jesus never commanded us to make converts. He commanded us to make disciples. Now there can be no disciple without conversion. And Jesus wants all of us to be born again. We have to believe so that we don't perish, so we can have life, have that conversion experience. But beyond that, we are to become disciples. That's where the command rested, but make disciples. And so have you really been intentional about man, I want to be a discipled follower of Jesus. I would challenge you get into a small group, it can really help you in your walk in discipleship. Develop a daily path and pattern for prayer, develop a daily devotional pattern and, and take that discipleship to the next level. Jesus, he took the cup, and he took the bread. And the Bible says he took the bread, and he blessed the bread, and then he broke the bread, and then he gave the bread. And when we think about this bread, the Bible tells us it represents his body that was broken, so that we can be made whole. And maybe tonight, it's just a place in your life where you need to just remember the places where Jesus was broken so that you could be made home, think about it. Maybe your love is broken, and you need to be made whole. Maybe your priorities are broken, relationships are a place you're really struggling and that needs to be set in order. Maybe your obedience is broken, and you're like, I'm failing at discipleship Jesus, like I want to listen, I want to do what you tell me to do, but I just keep messing up. He can put that together for you. He can help you to take your thoughts captive that are not have him, renew your mind and become more obedient. Maybe your fruitfulness is broken. Because like you're like a man, if I'm bearing fruit, it's bad fruit. And there's some stuff about my branch that's really jacked up right now. Like, I need the Lord to do more than prune, I need him to heal. He can do that. He can bring that healing to your life. Believe for healing and wherever you need it, as it represents being a disciple of Jesus. I'm going to ask you to take and eat the bread.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

Lord, we just thank you for making this whole. Thank you for healing us in the places where we're wounded. Thank you for touching the places God where our love is messed up, our priorities are out of order, our obedience has failed, ond our fruitfulness has been non-existent. Thank you, Lord, for healing us. You know, Jesus lifted the cup, and he told him he said as often as you drink of this, he said, I want you to do it in remembrance of me because it represents my blood being shed for the remission of your sins. You know, we don't even get to talk about being a disciple without the blood. Without the cup, there's no chance that even ever being able to be a person of love, that's got their priorities straight, that's obeying the Lord. It's been fruitful. And I'm just gonna ask you tonight, like every place in your life where that there’s sin, every place in your life where you have come up short, maybe it's just a moment of confession before the Lord just a place you're just admitting man there's sin in my life. Maybe there's habitual sin in my life. I feel like God, I've not been obedient at all, because I just keep going back into these habitual sins. Maybe there's hurts, maybe there's hang ups. It's just you're not fruitful. You just need the Lord to deal with the sin that's in your life. As you recognize the power of his blood, to make old things pass away and everything they become new, I’m going to ask you to take a drink of the cup.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

Lord, we just thank you for your grace, and we thank you for your mercy. And we thank you that you heal us of our shame, and you deal with our condemnation. Lord, we're grateful that you give us the chance to be a disciple who can follow you and walk out love, the right priorities, obedience and fruitfulness. Bless you, Lord, in Jesuss name, amen. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

Thank you for taking this journey with me to become a disciple and to make disciples. Again, it was not a suggestion by Jesus, it is a command. And I say this a lot, but I just think you have to make the vision plain, so that people can hear it, see it and run with it. 3trees exists for one reason, and that is because everyone needs Jesus. We're doing everything we can to seek the lost. At the same time, we have a responsibility, a mandate from heaven, on Earth, to make disciples. And at the same time, as we're making disciples, we want to be active, we want to be out in the highways and the hedges, going to the north, south, east and the west and meeting needs. So we exist for one reason, because everyone needs Jesus. We're doing our best to seek the lost, to make disciples, and to meet needs. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

If you don't have a home church, I would love to have you join us at 3trees. You can join us in church online, 9:30am, central; 10:30am, eastern, every Sunday morning, the exact same platforms that you might be joining us tonight through, or you can join us in person. You can go to3trees.com. You can see the different locations that are available, the different service times that are available. We'd love to have the chance to be a part of your experience of worship and Word on a Sunday morning. Again, can't wait to see you next Wednesday night. I promise you this if you go with God, he will go with you, greater things are yet to come.

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